[WWN] Direct Response Marketing -- The Big Picture

Although direct-marketing techniques have been used since the advent of the printing press, the definition that was set 89 years ago still holds true today: Direct-response marketing is a form of marketing designed to solicit an immediate response that is specific and quantifiable.

You see this at work in every DRM channel:

Online newsletter promotions ask you to "click here." Magazine promotions ask you to place a "yes" sticker on a postcard to renew your subscription. TV ads ask you to call an 800 number to learn more about the latest vacuum cleaner technology. All of these channels then add urgency by stating that if you are among the first 25 or 50 or 100 to respond, you will be rewarded with extra bonuses.

They all ask customers to take action immediately. They all ask customers to follow specific instructions. And smart companies track and quantify the results.

Keep in mind that DRM is not branding. The end goals of direct-response marketing and brand marketing are entirely different. DRM wants to get the customer to provide information or open his wallet.

Branding, on the other hand, wants to get the customer to remember the product.

Direct-response marketing wants to get the customer to open their wallet by making sure its message is a highly targeted one with explicit interest or intent.

Moreover, with branding, the customer remembers the product through image-building and broad reach. There is little to no conscious intent.

Today, with the power of the Internet behind you, branding and DRM work more closely together... closer than they ever have in the history of advertising.

The Internet allows companies to create campaigns that are nearly hybrids of traditional branding and traditional DRM.

Think about all the email marketing being published today. There are hundreds of thousands of them out there on every subject imaginable, from gardening to politics to rock music; and thousands more are created each week.

Our TaxProMarketer Strategy Note is an example. It is delivered every week and reaches thousands -- it has developed a certain brand presence.

By "brand presence," we mean that our emails have a specific look and feel.

Because of all the change on our main site, and with our name, we are moving to establishing this brand even further. You'll see our logo more. When you see banner ads on other web sites and text ads in other newsletters, you'll know by the logo that the ads come from TPM.

But at its heart, TPM is not a brand marketer. TPM is a direct-response email engine. That's how we've developed our subscriber list.

That's how we've grown our business. And because we've been consistent with our message, our values, and our product quality, we've been able to create a brand presence that other people recognize. A "brand" can develop organically from good DRM.

For most small businesses (the non-Cokes and non-Nikes of the world), this is the best way to grow. Spend your money on great direct-response campaigns and let your brand develop while you make money.

Now, if you're not familiar with direct-marketing methods, here are a few good books to start with:

  • Eugene M. Schwartz's Breakthrough Advertising, originally published in 1966
  • Dick Benson's Secrets of Successful Direct Mail, originally published in 1987
  • Claude C. Hopkins' My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising, originally published in 1927 and 1923, respectively
  • Michael Masterson's and MaryEllen Tribby's Changing The Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions for Your Business, originally published in 2008

The authors of these books understood the profound impact that direct-response marketing can have on any business. It was their mission to teach the fundamentals -- the rules and principles that apply to all businesses at all times.

But I have to warn you -- reading these books and putting them into action can ONLY help you make money!

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